Giada's Slim-N10 nettop computer system is one that is filled with both plenty of positive points and also plenty of negative points that cannot just be ignored. Where do we begin?
The Slim-N10 is easily the smallest "desktop" computer that I have ever seen or used. Once I pulled it out of the box and saw the size of this unit, I knew I was holding something pretty special - almost an engineering masterpiece, if you will. Once I pulled the thing to bits, things started to make sense. Giada created a specially designed motherboard for the N10 that is one of the more interesting ones we have seen. It is a dual sided motherboard with components and connectors on both sides - that is the trick to creating such a small little computer.
Build quality is up to standard and it's a pretty solid unit for the size. The white version we received for testing features a trendy blue floral pattern on both sides of the system and it should appeal to many people. The plastic molded stand that comes in the package is really basic, but it allows the N10 to sit horizontally or vertically and on the base of the stand are rubber pads that stop the system from slipping on your desk.
On the negative side of things, though, there is no shortage of things we need to mention. The big issue for us is performance and some of the choices made by Giada. Clearly they've tried to keep the price down as low as possible and that's all good and well, but it's really only a little cheaper than the ASRock nettop system we compared against. Why on earth would you only design the motherboard with a single DO-DIMM DDR2 memory slot? Dual-channel memory technology is a must and single-channel just slows down a system of this kind that needs all the little tricks in the book to make it as fast as possible, as after all it is based on an cheap and low-power Intel Atom processor.
Next up is the selection of hard disk drive by Giada. Sure, we expected a 2.5-inch laptop sized HDD to be installed, but the selection of a 5,400 RPM is pretty crazy. We need at least a 7,200 RPM hard drive for that extra performance boost and it would have been even better with an SSD, which is able to effectively disguise some of the performance issues with a netbook or nettop system. And finally, we come to the networking side. As for the wired LAN side, there is only 10/100 ethernet, which means you need to deal with around 12MB/s file transfers, even though 1080p media streaming is possible. The particular model we tested only came with 802.11g wireless networking also. In my opinion, it shouldn't even be an option - every mode should come with the faster 802.11n wireless networking standard.
But after everything is said and done, we are still pretty impressed with the Giada Slim-N10. I know we just bagged it for a range of performance issues, but that is not the be all and end all for everyone. I like my computers to be cutting edge and super fast, but that's not a requirement for everyone. Students, people on a budget, people with not much room to spare or those who like fashionable computers such as this one will love the N10. It gets a bit hot under normal operating, but we didn't notice any stability issues while we were testing it out.
The Giada Slim-N10 comes recommended for certain users, but others will probably want to avoid it.